Yesterday, Joel Yanofsky, author of the novel Jacob's Ladder, as well as a non-fiction book called Mordecai and Me (about among other things, Mordecai Richler), visited my Journalism class at Marianopolis. In addition to being an author, Joel is a busy journalist, who does book reviews and author profiles for publications like The Gazette, the National Post, and a publishing industry magazinecalled Quill & Quire.
Joel brought along an author profile he wrote for Quill & Quire -- and he took us through the piece, explaining how he did the interviewing and how he constructed the story. I am a great fan of Joel's writing, which is often humorous, often touching, and somehow always seems as if it came easily to him. One of the great parts of Joel's visit was that he explained how he goes over and over his work until he gets it right. So that effortless quality I've noticed in his work comes as the result of a lot of effort!
Joel also talked about the importance of having a strong lead. He advised students in my class to begin their feature stories in "media res" -- which is Latin for "in the middle of things." The same applies to fiction writing, of course. Joel had a great way of putting this advice. He said: "No throat clearing!" (You know how some people clear their throats before they make a speech? Well, he was saying writers shouldn't do that!)
I'm heading to school. Today, there's a celebration in honour of International Women's Day, and I'm going to participate by reading a small section from What World Is Left. (I'll be careful not to clear my throat before I start!!) Will let you know in tomorrow's entry how thing go.
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Just a quick comment while I'm supposed to be scouting -- checking out the other 65 teams here at the Toronto Robotics Regional -- that your writing classes seem to have some really cool comments; at least they're not discouraged by the amount of work which writing represents. Good luck with your correcting; hopefully, your other classes are improving their writing as well!!
I think the idea of working hard to improve can actually be applied to most things in life... the harder you work, the more you improve, and the more fun you have so the more you do, and so on...
from Kim to Sophie to Mme. Polak ( I hope I posted on the right blog...) and Kim's fav. smilie
Okay, I meant to have that comment on the previous entry but, seeing as it's not working today either, it'll be fine Thanks Sophie!!
I'm annoyed I missed International Woman's Day... I'd have loved to hear an excerpt from What World is Left!! During that time, I was still scouting (that's all I did on Thursday!). We definitely started in the middle of things: I had a file with something like 7 columns for specific information in each of the 66 robots, so the information was all over the place and then I had to do reports to one of the robot drivers for our team.
Oh, and I hate it when people clear their throats before talking... especially when they use it to tell people they're about to start talking in a not-so-subtle way!